The Whole Damn Thing: The Yes/NO List + Helpful Tips

We’re just about 5 days out from kicking off the Whole Damn Thing, so it’s time to talk details: yes/no foods, the ‘why’ behind each method, and a few of the starter how-to guides.  So here we go!

This week this really great article came out as a summarized guide to how to eat Paleo, Whole 30, or even less restrictive with a focus on ditching processed foods.  So here’s the quick and dirty guide on what you can and CANNOT have if you’re eating Paleo.

fuel sweat grow: how to eat Paleo

(source)

Now, if you’re hopping on the 28toLife train, and coming into 2015 guns blazing, you’re also going to ditch the Honey and Maple Syrup.  No sugar is no sugar, with the exception of fructose in some fruits, which should still be viewed in moderation.  You’ll notice when my full grocery and meal lists come out that my preferred shopping list is really heavy on some items, and really light on some others….that’s not by mistake.  We’re going for nutrient rich foods; lean meats (local/grassfed and grass finished), nutrient rich vegetables, antioxidant rich (lower sugar/fructose) fruits/berries, eggs….so many eggs, and some staple items to support creative meal creation.

The most important thing to remember is that you must read all ingredient labels.  Just even doing this exercise will change the way you look at food.   It’s not about calories or fat (processed foods labelled as gluten-free or fat-free typically have the highest sugar, carb, and chemical compositions and are worse for you can straight up butter or whole grain breads – unless you are celiac or truly gluten intolerant).  Look at the ingredient list, and if there are words you don’t know (or naughty words you do know like sugar or anything ending in -ate), put it down and run away.  Keswick Gourmet (pictured below) is honestly one of the only marinara/pasta sauces in a jar that you can find anywhere in town without added sugar, and happens to be made locally.  It’s at Whole Foods, thank goodness, and is one of the few things that will bridge the gap between eating clean and having convenience.

fuel sweat grow: keswick gourmet

The best things to do when shopping is shop local farmers markets, or, in a traditional grocery store shop the perimeter – produce, fruit, meat, eggs, and out!  And just for a little extra, check out this article on Superfoods that are healthier and more nutrient rich than the currently trend leading #kale.  It’s great that so many people are embracing kale’s deep leafy greens, but it’s not the King of the mountain when it comes to green Superfoods and nutrient density, so don’t feel like you need to load up on it unless you love it too.

Snacks are always the hardest, so we’ll do our best to put out some great snack options for eating at home, or taking on-the-go, but typically you’ll want to think within the boundaries of the basics and prepare some quick grab bags/containers.  Almond butter is a great dipping sauce for baby carrots, celery, apples, bananas…..the usual suspects that we’ve all known since childhood — just once again, opt for the fresh ground almond or cashew butters from Whole Foods or Trader Joes, and make sure you read the label….most nut-butters have added sugar.  If you’re looking for some approved vendors, from snacks and dressings to meat vendors, et all, check out this list that is Whole 30 approved, or as always, visit our friends from MODpaleo and enter the code ‘MadnessCville’ when you create your account to receive 10% off your first order (they make meals AND snacks).

fuel sweat grow: MODpaleo Pre-packaged meal delivery

As you get ready to stock up on some Staple Items, here’s a quick list of what you’ll need as serious basics, and my store preferences if you’re looking to shop around on price:

Coconut Milk: this will become a life-line of sorts, so stock up.  It’s $0.99/can at Trader Joes vs. $2.49 at Whole Foods, and when you’re buying cans 10 at a time it really adds up.

Almond Milk: this is expensive wherever you go, and most brands are on the naughty list thanks to added Sugars, so if you’re looking to save $ and do it right, buy raw (unsalted, non-roasted) almonds from Trader Joe’s and follow this guide to make your own.  It’s much easier and cheaper than you would think. [But if you’re in a jam and just need a latte, Milli Joe and GRIT Coffee both make their almond milk in-house and will steam it up right for you with a few shots of amazing espresso.  It’s worth the $4+ when you’re in a jam.]

Coconut Oil: Have at least 2 jars on hand at all times, you will use it more than you can imagine.  Trader Joe’s will be your best bet on price by $1-2/jar.

Coconut Flour: You don’t need a ton of this, it goes amazingly far.  You can find it at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and most other general grocery stores (Harris Teeter, Kroger), just check the back and make sure it’s pure coconut.

Cinnamon:  You’ll want to make sure you have ground cinnamon on hand for coffee, coconut milk mixes, etc.  Once you quit sugar, spices will taste so amazing that you’ll find yourself getting excited to try new combos for veggie stir-frys and meat rubs.

Vanilla Extract: another label hunter. We’re going for pure/organic (not the alcohol/chemical rich generic brands); you’ll want this for making coconut milk coffee creamer, smoothies, etc.

Grocery Lists divided into best-of stores (Whole Foods / Trader Joes and local favorites like Stock and The Organic Butcher for meat) are headed your way tomorrow, but in the meantime, here’s a prep-post I put out prior to some of our clients doing the Whole30 earlier this year.  There’s a lot on the list, but I tend to find myself cooking for multiples, and the pre-making and packaging away leftovers habit has been known to save lives around here.

Until then, you know those cookies that have been eyeing you from the cabinet (or worse, the counter) every night?  Throw them out.  Let the wine linger a little longer so you don’t hate directly on 2014, and we’ll say g’bye after the ball has dropped….and remember, it’s only goodbye for now, you’ll be back at the end of the month.

Springing into Summer: A May Weekend in Cville

fuel sweat grow: Charlottesville Paramount TheaterWe’re only 4 days into the month and I’m already missing May in Charlottesville.  After starting off the week with three straight days of miserable rain, high 70’s and sweet spring air has been more than welcomed around here.  It’s usually tough for me to pick an absolute favorite time in Cville (it usually spans from spring through late fall) but the extended winter has me so grateful for each day that my body welcomes in vitamin D, and I’m loving hard on this late spring.

This weekend definitely included a long list of to-do’s, prepping ourselves and MADville for our long departure from the day to day, but there was no shortage of the spring weekend things that make this place so magical.

Friday’s After Five was of course the end of the week highlight for the group, which included a core contingent of our MADville members, several of which had used the 12:15 class as the start to their weekend, working their way through the downtown bars until 5pm became an official reality.

fuel sweat grow: charlottesville Fridays after Five

I’ve recently switched over to white wine as I’ve eased my way back into the warm weather, but I haven’t drawn a hard line in the sand.  I think white will just continue to be my outside drink and I’ll relish the indoor moments that red and I continue to have.

fuel sweat grow: Fridays things

One of the least obvious things that I absolutely love about Friday’s is the kettle corn.  I’m obsessed with it.  It’s the end of the week treat and pre-dinner snack that I work towards, and the fact that they’re making it hot and fresh right there just makes it all the better.  I didn’t realize (because I live under a rock?) that you can actually buy this stuff in stores all around Charlottesville – but to be honest, for me, it’s the experience of the in-the-moment purchase that makes the experience so special.

Fuel Sweat Grow: Kettle Corn

Saturday brought an early morning of MADness, but for the first time in what seems like forever, it was just for operational support.  Saturday is actually my favorite day in MADville and you’ll rarely see me sitting out, but after the previous four intervals I did this week I needed a break – body and mind.  I’m always on the later end of the City Market, so I made a point to get there before 8am yesterday, scooting right over to see Erin McDermott for a little jewelry shopping before the masses.  And of course, I got it all packaged up in sweet little bags, just because she’s always adorable like that.

fuel sweat grow: Erin McDermott

I made my way back to MAD in plenty of time to check out both morning classes, and watched two packed classes experience what we by far the most grueling interval of the week.  Sorry guys, you’re better for it.  Brunch happened at The Southern (again) for a little business meeting with our friends who are launching Swim s’cool this summer in Charlottesville, and then it was back to the gym for a private class with the Sigma Kappa sorority chapter from UVa.

After everything at MAD was wrapped up, errands happened, including a late lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen (Greek Salad, no potatoes, add grilled chicken), and finally wrapped up in enough time to take the dogs for a walk.

Fuel Sweat Grow: zoe's kitchen

The rest of the night was spent celebrating a very special 2nd birthday.

fuel sweat grow: happy birthday charlotte

 

fuel sweat grow: sharing is caring

Sweet Charlotte turned two, and despite having her own personal smash cake, she preferred to delicately and intentionally share pinches of her cake with her best friend Eloise.  The cake was of course done by Maliha Creations, and was the best cake I’ve had since the last cake she made, and that’s a pretty high standard to hit.

All in all it was another great weekend in Charlottesville, and the last May weekend I’m going to spend here this year so I tried to soak in every last second.  I head back to Charlotte mid-week this week, and down to Charleston next week to finally get MADabolic Charleston opened and rolling with preview classes and the much anticipated grand opening.   At this point I think it’s safe to say we’ve essentially missed spring, so let’s do this summer, I’m ready for you.

 

It’s All Business: Lessons from Bug & Tank

If there were a canine version of The Godfather I’m pretty sure Bug and Tank would be the main characters.  Beyond their creepy co-dependence with each other and the fact that Tank’s snaggle tooth and collar bling makes him the best mob-style short Italian dude ever, I’m constantly finding animal heads in their beds and strewn about the house.

Fuel sweat grow: tank the godfather

Last week I had both dogs with me in Charlotte they must have torn through at least two new babies a day.  The mistake was definitely mine because I gave them too many new things up front — by friday the house was full of empty, lifeless carcasses of once fluffy toys.

As tedious as it is to constantly pick loose fluff off the floor (and out of the carpet), I have to respect their spirit.  These dogs have never met a challenge to large, a toy too durable, or anyone impressive enough cause them even the slightest misstep on the way to achieving their goals of destruction.  They’re all business.

Lately I’ve felt like my life is all business as well – transitioning from one job to the other, slowly transforming into that ‘face behind the computer screen.’  All projects and business items are in the ‘build and stand up’ phase, which is actually what I love the most, but with it all converging at the same time work days seem like continuous cycles just broken up into 24 hour phases with short interruptions for food, other obligations, and physical activity when at all possible.  Last week I hit up Flywheel in Charlotte twice to salvage what I could of my cardio endurance, and squeezed some short runs and walks into other available windows.

I could not be more excited for our MAD Charleston location to be open, and for the really fun parts to begin; welcoming new clients, planning the grand opening party, and connecting with the community that has already been creating so much buzz for us.  In Charlottesville we’ve hit a really amazing tipping point with new clients and energy in the space, the MADrave with TruPilates and Opal Yoga coming up in June, and then our 1 year Anniversary party on August 16th.  The things on the horizon are definitely appealing, now is just the business of getting there.

This week Dar is in Charleston to check on the last phases of buildout, work through layout, and stand up some of the major operational pieces, so, in the spirit of keeping all of our bases covered and continuing the momentum across the board, I’m holding it down in Charlottesville working remotely for my (other) job by day and working it ALL out by night.

Last night I got to squeeze in a little more of the fun part — coaching – with packed evening classes (and thank you to Elly for being back up at the Front!).  I’ve only been on the schedule a handful of times in the last couple of months, so it was so fun to return to the floor and experience the energy of the workout on the other end.

fuel sweat grow: MADville MADabolic Cville

Clients that were ‘new’ in the beginning of 2014 are now moving like seasoned veterans of the MADness, and everyone has managed to really engage mentally in the business and intention of the work at hand, without sacrificing the social and charismatic vibe that makes us all want to be there day after day.  In these moments, whether coaching or taking, every hour spent on back office planning and tasks all seem so worthwhile.

Accompanying my return to coaching has been my return to working out, and I’ve managed to squeeze in the Monday and Tuesday intervals.  I’m still in the debating stage of whether today will happen or not, but I’m going to err on the side of it happening since I need something to counterbalance the last three days of absolutely dreary and horrendous rain.  The other way I’ve been fighting the rainy day blues is by getting back into the kitchen.

Happy Spring Salad: romaine, snap peas, heirloom cherry tomatoes, avocado and sunflower seeds.

fuel sweat grow: spring salad

I’ve also been incorporating more grains into my meals, not every day, and on a moderate scale, but it has changed everything about my energy level.  I’m definitely not a carb fiend, but every once in a while I need it for that recovery — just usually in the form of quinoa, or products made with brown rice.   So, last night, to go with my ground beef, zucchini, and Keswick Gourmet Sauce, I threw in some brown rice fettuccine and tossed it all together.

fuel sweat grow: fettuccine w/meat sauce

 

I’m actually in Charlottesville through the middle of next week, so I’m pretty psyched to hit up the city market this weekend and put together some new local meals that hopefully can be paired with actual spring weather.   But for now, it’s all business, and like Bug and Tank, I’ve got my eye on the end goal.

Early Spring Weekend: Meals + a Run

You know what the most beautiful thing about outdoor bars in the summer is?  Everything.  Seriously, everything.

LaTaza Tiki Bar

Friday had been a long day that began with the 6:15 and 7am bootcamps, so as was probably pretty clear in friday’s post, that by 3pm I was ready to commence weekending.

Dar and I had a business meeting set up for drinks at LaTaza with one of our new favorite people, and it was exactly the right choice.  The outdoor seating was perfect, the tiki bar had my favorite cider [Bold Rock: Apple Draft] and there was a full dinner menu that was not just an extension of a regular bar menu.  I had the grilled flank steak with veggie substituted sides, Dar had a roasted chicken over a purple cabbage slaw and the first rice she’s had in over two months.  I give the food two thumbs up and a very enthusiastic high five.

After dinner two amazing things happened:

1.) Margaritas began showing up in succession.

2.) The fabulous Sarah Hatch who happens to have just cut my hair the day before (she works at Studio 500 – check her out!) and her fabulous co-workers showed up for their own business social time.

lataza tiki nights

The later it got, and the more the temperature dropped, the closer we all huddled into the fire.  I will say that it was  not smart of me to think having borderline long sleeves on was going to keep me warm enough, but let me tell you, once the weather finally cranks it up a notch, this is going to be the new place to find me on a friday night.  Mark my words.

Saturday morning was as gloomy as it could be for not actually raining, but a successful trip to the market did occur yielding some new meat from Wolf Creek Farms, and a good amount of leafy greens and asparagus from a local farmer.  There was still some meat left in the fridge from a trip to the Organic Butcher on thursday, so the Wolf Creek Farm goodies were stocked away for a later meal.

My body clock was pretty off, so at 4pm I found myself milling around the kitchen starting to prep for an early dinner with the grill warming up outside.

Organic Butcher flank + breasts

The spring mix was put to good use in basic salads with balsamic and olive oil with a little lemon and salt for seasoning.

local spring mix

A zucchini and squash saute with yellow and red peppers added to the meal as a great (and colorful) side that can be an awesome topping for chicken or beef.

zucchini saute spring veggie salsa

Or, top some brown rice pasta as a lighter spring ‘sauce’ that adds flavor to the whole meal.

spring mix + veggie meal

After dinner I took an hour or so to get a few things in order before taking advantage of the extra daylight hours on a quick run.

I have not been running much lately, at all, focusing more on lighter strength and cardio circuits as I build my endurance and immunity back up during recovery, but last night I just craved it.  I ran around the UVa campus for the first time in probably a year, which was a great return to the road.  Running slower than usual, I was able to take more in, inducing nostalgic memories connected to ‘grounds’ (as we call campus here at UVa) —  which is a different and much lengthier post for another time.  For the purposes of summarizing today: I ran, and it was excellent.

There is a ton going on around here right now, lots of announcements on the horizon, so I took the rest of the night to get my closet and life organized, made a post on my personal blog, and let myself unwind into a lazy Saturday night in.

A Week of Updates: From coffee to wine

This has been ‘one of those weeks.’  You know the kind where your workouts and meals seem like they’re wedged into 30 minute blocks and the rest of life slops out of it’s designated time slots to overtake your day?  Yes, it was that week.  Thankfully those brief windows of fueling and sweating managed to persist, and I have lived to tell the tale. Next week I will update you on the actual contents of my to-do lists, with big announcements coming out of FemCity Charlottesville.  Ah-mazing upcoming events.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but coffee is the only reason that I’m alive.  This is one fact that I’m certain of.   One of the hardest things about running around town on a crazy schedule is getting my coffee fix, but also getting some good food into my body to start the day.

LaTaza coffee

One of my favorite spots in Charlottesville, LaTaza, has the awesome coffee house community vibe, with great coffee, and great food to back it up.  The breakfast menu is awesome in and of itself, but they are also amazing about modifications.  I’ve found myself there several times this week for meetings, but Wednesday morning after bootcamp I desperately needed a re-fuel.

Scrambled eggs with zucchini, tomato and a side of avocado. If that’s not an awesome healthy dine-out breakfast, I don’t know what is.  Oh, also, it was delicious.  It’s so hard to find a spot that has great coffee and great food, so this was such an amazing find.

laTaza breakfast

As I was heading back out into the world, well fed and caffeinated, I caught a glimpse of this flyer for Adam & Katie’s yoga workshop next weekend at Opal Yoga, right here in the heart of Charlottesville.

KatieAdamYoga

I can not wait for next weekend not only to see those two jokers, but to show them around our beautiful city. Since I know that they’re on the same page when it comes for having locavore hearts and a love for all things farm to table, one of the stops on the docket will undoubtedly be the city market. This way I can fulfill my produce needs for the week, buy my local meat, and see the ever-loving ever-amazing creative soul, Erin McDermott, who will be selling her jewelry there.

Quick sidenote: check out this guide from Real Simple on the best spring produce.  It’s a great one to keep seasonable vegetables in mind, and generate some new fresh meal ideas.

spring produce

Dinners have been mostly grilled or left over this week, with my personal favorite meal of grilled flank steak and vegetables.

flank steak grilled

When it comes to grilled vegetables, the most commonly grilled for me are usually asparagus, squash, eggplant, and peppers/onions when it’s kabob time, so I wanted to throw in something different.  A few weeks ago I had some grilled cauliflower at Zinc that I absolutely loved so I gave it a shot at home.

grilled zucchini + cauliflower

Truly, it was awesome.  Cauliflower doesn’t have the same crisping tendency that broccoli does, so it gets nice and tender without the same burning/dry tips.  You can lightly brush with olive oil and season with salt (or whatever you want – maybe throw in a little cayenne for a kick) and grill it up.

The other upside to grilling a little firmer of a vegetable is that they really hold up well as leftovers to use with other meals, and in the case of this week, in scrambled eggs.  Seriously, it was good.

My sweat schedule this week consisted almost exclusively of Bootcamp, with one simple quick and dirty run that may have actually been my first run in a few weeks. I’ve been nursing a tight back thanks to some not-so-smart adventuring that I did, so my goal was to keep moving, but take it all in stride.  Rest can be a good thing.

I’ve hit my limit of work interest for the day, or maybe the week, so I’ve planned a walk into the afternoon and will be shutting down for the rest of the night with a couple productive but social (socially productive work) meetings to kick off the weekend.   As I  always say, ‘when in doubt, wine,’ and that’s exactly what’s on the docket.

wine

Until next time, keep it local + cook it clean!